A Walk Down Allen Street

Now, a third of the way into the first month of the year, I feel the newness of the year.
The sun is at that low, right angle: its rays cast upon the tallest buildings, warming them heat and color. The street, at this hour, is still in soft shadow.
Walking in this small brick canyon, no more than two stories deep, I hear the distant roar of the highway.
The roar, carried and reflected by other canyons and valleys nearby, waxes and wanes. Here it is amplified, a few feet away, it falls off.
I pause to listen and wonder at the marvel.
And then, it is drowned out by people in cars, on their way to work, home, elsewhere.

Still Life As A DWI Victim

So let me tell you how this goes down.

You’re minding your own business, doing your thing. Maybe you’re driving your car, to work, to the store, to the end of the road. Or maybe you’re walking down the sidewalk, the side of the road, across your own goddamn lawn. Or you’re like me, riding your bike.

It’s a beautiful day, evening, morning. The sun is shining, rain is pouring down in buckets, it’s foggy, snowy or, I don’t know, it’s a completely unmemorable day. You’ll remember it, though. Most, if not all, of it.

You get hit. In your car, walking across your own goddamn lawn, riding your bike down the street.

If you’re lucky, you live. You’ll know it because everyone will tell you so. They’ll tell you just how lucky you are, how lucky you are to be alive. You believe it, too.

The spectrum of what happens to you is unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

Let’s start at the amazing end. At the amazing, how the fuck did I survive end, you had some bumps and scrapes. A little bit of indignation at the hospital. Maybe they give you a tetanus shot. But you walk away. It is absolutely goddamn unbelievably amazing. Who walks away from being hit by a car? It is just not a thing you can make sense of.

Yea, I ended that sentence in a preposition.

The other end? Heartbreakingly horrifying. Days, weeks, months… fucking years of pain, surgeries, lost limbs, ongoing medical issues, brain damage. What’s the worst thing you can imagine happening to you, to someone you love? It’s worse. Far, far worse.

But you’re lucky. Lucky to be alive. It’s a thing to celebrate. You’ll hear it ad infinitum. As nauseum.


The driver. He or she probably took off. Or hit a tree. Or their car broke in the crash. Crash. Not an accident.

Chances are real good the driver wasn’t injured in any significant way. That always seems to be the case with the drunks: they’re not hurt.

There’s a lot of court bullshit. The driver and his lawyer will try to convince the judge that he’s remorseful. That he’s making amends. That… it doesn’t matter what they say. They’re all lies. Little lies, big lies, but lies nonetheless.

Nothing the justice system can do will undo the damage. Nothing will give you your life back.

Try not to take it personally. Of course, it is nothing but personal. You are a complete innocent and, not to put too fine a point on it, but you are now fucked.

You are now fucked.